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"I've been laundress to gentlemen of all ages in my time, sir,' remarked Mrs. Flanagan, my laundress, this morning ; 'but of them all, you, sir, when you
fust come to live in the Temple, was the very youngest I ever“ did ” for.'
What the nature of the preceding conversation between Mrs. Flanagan and myself had been, and which had induced that excellent lady to make the above remark, it is not necessary for me to explain; but as she departed down-stairs, banging the outer door of my chambers after her, I found myself wondering how many years had really elapsed since I first became the occupant of the dingy set of chambers on the third floor of No. 5, Flag Court, Temple, which it has been my lot ever since to inhabit. As the result of my musings, I came to
the conclusion that Mrs. Flanagan was right. I was very young when, a few weeks after having entered myself as a student on the boards of the Honourable Society of the Upper Temple, I presented myself at the treasury-office of that learned body, and besought the clerk to inform me whether there were any chambers then vacant. That official looked at me over his spectacles-doubtless thinking, like Mrs. Flanagan, that I was very youngbefore he replied that there were only two sets of chambers in the Inn then vacant. One, he remarked, was a handsome set on the first floor of Parchment Buildings (rent one hundred and fifty pounds a year), and which had just been vacated by Mr. Quibble, Q.C., upon his appointment as one of Her Majesty's judges. The other set which was on the third floor of No. 5, Flag Court, Temple (rent thirty-five pounds a year), had been recently occupied by Mr. Redtape, but had become vacant by the removal of that learned gentleman to another world.
Thinking that this last-named set of chambers might suit me, I requested the clerk to show me them. It was a dreary November afternoon-how well do I remember it !- -as the clerk and I left the treasury-office, and set forth upon our quest. The fog which hung over London that day was so thick that all the gas-lamps were burning on the stair.